By this fall, First Nation teachings will become an integral part of the curriculum and staff training at Cambrian College in Sudbury.
The college officially ratified it's Indigenous Education Protocol on June 20, at a ceremony in the Sacred Arbour on the main campus.
This is an agreement and implementation plan to integrate First Nation culture and traditional knowledge.
The celebration brought out a large crowd of elders, students, staff and onlookers to partake in the ceremony, which included the signing, as well as a conference that included lighting a sacred fire, a sharing circle, smoking of the ceremonial pipe, berries and water sharing and a feast plate offering.
"This is a celebration if Indigenous Culture and Indigenous education," said Bill Best, Cambrian College's president. "We want to make the college a welcoming place, in which our Indigenous partners can come and work with us, and increase our understanding with our students, faculty and staff."
The protocol commits the college to several measures, including:
Integrating Indigenous education into Cambrian's academic programming.
Providing ongoing education to faculty and staff on Indigenous culture, traditions and history.
Acknowledging the Calls to Action outlined by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
Providing cultural, academic, and counseling support to Indigenous learners.
Strengthening relationships and accountability with Indigenous communities.
The protocol has been about two years in the making, Best explained, with the college taking the next eight to 12 weeks to fully implement it into programming.
It is being designed to bring awareness and recognition for all students, as well as foster a welcoming atmosphere for Indigenous students.
Implementation had been underway for I some time. Staff have been going through Truth and Reconciliation training, as well as implementing new Indigenous courses.
Best said they are very confident over everything in the document, as the college either has already implemented them, will implement them or are actively working on them for future implementation.
This protocol is part of the national Indigenous Education Protocol for Colleges and Institutes that 56 colleges signed more than two years ago. Best said Cambrian was an early adopter. While it's a national initiative, he explained they want to have a localized perspective.
Co-signing was Ron Sarazin, chair of the Circle for Indigenous Education at Cambrian...